Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Aldabra Giant Tortoise is Geochelone gigantea.
  • It is also known as Aldabrachelys elephantina or Dipsochelys elephantina.

Description

  • Aldabra or Galapagos Tortoise are the 2 largest tortoises in the entire world.
  • They are dark grey to black in colour with a highly domed thick carapace.
  • Aldabra tortoises also have a very long neck to aid in food gathering.
  • CITES listing: Class II (01/07/1975).

Distribution

  • Aldabra Giant Tortoises are found mostly in aldabra atoll (a small group of coral islands in the Indian Ocean).
  • Also, in Seychelles Islandsome in Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion & Tanzania.
  • Galapagos Tortoises are found in Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. 

Breeding

  • Breeding season occurs from January to April.
  • In courting, the male batters his shell against a female a dozen or more times and he makes a deep, trumpeting call when mating.
  • After carrying the fertilised ova for about ten weeks, the female digs a hole in the ground and lay eggs.

Nesting

  • Every time, they female lays between 9-25 eggs of which less than half are fertile.
  • The Aldabra Tortoise eggs incubation period ranges from 73 to 160 days with the young emerging during an eight-week period coinciding with the beginning of the wet season.

Size

  • Aldabra adult can grow up to approximately 48 inches (1.2 meters) in length, 550 lbs (250 kgs) for males.
  • Female tortoises are approx. 36 inches (0.9 meter) in length, 350 lbs (160 kgs).

Life Span

  • They can live more than 80 years.
  • Oldest recorded age is 255 years old tortoise.

Diet

  • Herbivorous (plant-eating); Vegetables.
  • Occasionally small invertebrates and carrion.
  • Their main foods to be Grasses, Dark Leafy Greens (e.g. dandelions, mustards, collards, turnips, kales).
  • Occasionally foods to be Pears, Carrots, Peaches, Apples (with skin), Beans (with skin), Peas (with skin), Almonds, tomato,
  • In captivity, sometimes they are fed with high quality canned reptile, dog or cat food, etc.

Habitat

  • Terrestrial; the semi-arid islands have coral limestone beaches and mangroves along their borders.

Tortoise Cage and Housing

  • Cage should be large enough.
  • Adults Aldabra are recommended to be housed outdoors in most time of the year.
  • With Soil, fine sand or compressed paper granules as substrate, 12 – 14 hours each day with direct natural sunlight or UV lamp, low to mid humidity.
  • Best temperature range for them is 25 – 35°C.
  • A big water dish to be left in the cage sometimes but not all the time.
  • If possibilities include caves as hiding place.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise in the Zoo